General Motor risks running low on cash, Deutsche Bank says in rare cut
Deutsche Bank’s Emmanuel Rosner downgraded General Motors Co. for the first time since he initiated coverage on the automaker more than a year ago, warning the car maker will run low on cash if production shutdowns continue for months.
GM and Ford Motor Co. have only 15 to 17 weeks of liquidity to ride out current conditions before they hit the minimum levels of cash they need to run their business, Rosner said in a report Tuesday. He cut his rating on GM to hold and lowered his price target to $25 from $41.
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“Despite considerable declines in equity values since the start of the Covid crisis, we see additional downside risk for U.S. autos stocks, in light of significant liquidity concerns from the prolonged production shutdown," Rosner wrote.
GM rose as much as 14% to $22.21 amid a broader rally in U.S. equities Tuesday. The automaker’s shares had declined 47% this year through Monday’s close.
Rosner said U.S. auto sales could slow to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4 million to 5 million vehicles in April, from 11.4 million in March. A recovery probably won’t happen until there is easing of shelter-in-place restrictions across the country, which would enable production and demand to resume. The earliest timing for that likely would be May or June, he wrote.
“A recession is unavoidable," Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at researcher Cox Automotive, said on a conference call Tuesday. “The shutdown of activity in March will be big enough for the first quarter to be negative on real GDP growth," and the second-quarter decline in the economy is likely to be “historic."
Deutsche Bank’s Rosner slashed estimates for 2020 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization across his coverage universe by an average of 30%.
Downgrades have been rare for GM in general, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Fifteen analysts recommend buying the shares, with four rating the stock a hold and zero advising investors to sell.
After five straight years selling at least 17 million new cars and trucks, the industry may see deliveries drop below 11 million or 12 million this year, Cox Automotive’s Smoke said.
“That’s a bleak outlook compared to where we were in January," he said. “I hope we’re wrong."